Family Law: divorce


Do I need to change my name after a divorce?

It is your prerogative to decide whether you wish to retain your name after you divorce. There is no legal requirement to do so.


How long does a divorce take?

The time it takes to get a divorce varies, depending on the individual circumstances of the case and the efficiency of the Court. Issues pertaining to a financial settlement can prolong the time it takes to obtain a divorce. A simple divorce case could typically be settled within 6 months, but it usually takes around 12 months in most case. If the divorce is defended then it can take significantly longer.


Can I still get a divorce if I do not know where my spouse is or if they have died?

You can get a divorce even you do not know where your spouse is, but providing a current address of your husband or wife will speed up the process.  Please try to find their address through contacting their relatives, friends, last known employer and any people who may know them. You can also apply for the divorce petition to be served by alternative means, such as email.

If you have sufficient evidence that your spouse has died then you can fill in a Petition for a presumption of death decree/order and the dissolution of a marriage/civil partnership form to end the legal relationship with your spouse without filing a divorce petition.


How does somebody start a divorce process?

The petitioner, who wishes to start the divorce process, should complete the divorce petition online or by post and send three copies along with marriage certificate and application fee to the applicable court so that divorce proceedings can commence.


What are the key stages of an uncontested divorce?

The key stages of an uncontested divorce are listed below:

Stage 1: A divorce petition is completed and filed by the petitioner.

Stage 2: When the court receives the divorce petition and relevant documents, the court will issue the petition and send this to the respondent (the husband or wife of the petitioner) with an acknowledgement of service form.

Stage 3: the respondent will complete the acknowledgement of service form and file this with the court.

Stage 4: the petitioner applies for the first divorce order (known as decree nisi).

Stage 5: the court will grant a certificate of entitlement to a decree and fix a date for the pronouncement of decree nisi.

Stage 6: decree nisi is issued.

Stage 7: six weeks after the date that decree nisi is issued the petitioner can apply to the court for decree absolute (the final divorce decree).